NASA Endurance Mission- Key Facts

A rocket carrying NASA’s Endurance mission was launched recently.

What is the aim of the mission?

To find out why planet Earth supports life, whereas other planets like Mars and Venus do not. A wet planet like Earth will be suitable for life to exist. Venus was once a watery planet but it dried out later for unknown reasons. If we understand why Venus dried out, our knowledge regarding habitable planets increases.

Where was the rocket launched from?

The rocket was launched from Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard, Norway.

What will be done under the Endurance Mission?

The Earth’s global electric potential will be measured. This electric potential of Earth is believed to be very weak and thus it can support life.

How Earth’s electric potential measured?

The electrons escaping from the atmosphere of the Earth will be measured. However, they escape Earth at a specific speed, but they will be slowed by Earth’s global electric potential. The slowing effect will be measured to know about the electric potential. If it becomes successful, this will be the first measurement of Earth’s global electric potential.

Why measuring electric potential is important?

In 2016, the European Space Agency’s (ESAs) Venus Express mission detected a 10-volt electric potential surrounding Venus. If there is electric potential, positively charged particles will be pulled away from the surface of the planet. Thus, the electric potential surrounding Venus might have pulled away positively charged ingredients of water, which might be the reason for Venus becoming dry over time. Both Venus and Earth have an ionosphere (electrically charged outer layer of its atmosphere). So the scientists want to know whether the Earth has similar electric potential. If the electric potential is there, then they want to investigate why the earth has water.

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